The Red and Yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus) is a species of African barbet found in eastern Africa. Males have distinctive black (spotted white), red, and yellow plumage; females and juveniles are similar, but less brightly colored. The species lives in broken terrain and nests and roosts in burrows. Omnivorous, the species feeds on seeds, fruit, and invertebrates. Where not hunted, they are tame, but their feathers are used by certain tribes, such as the Maasai.
The female is similar to the male, but is, overall, much duller, with less red and orange, and more yellow and white. Specifically, females lack the throat patch, and typically lack the crown. Young birds are also duller- they typically have less red and orange, as with the female. The spots on the back are less white, and all blacks are more brown. The eyes are typically grey.
The species avoid both very open areas and areas of dense woodland, instead preferring broken terrain such as riverbeds and cliffs or termite mounds. It nests and roosts in tunnels, and forages on or close to the ground. Red-and-yellow Barbets are omnivores, feeding on seeds, fruit, and invertebrates.
They are found from central Kenya to north-east Tanzania. Trachyphonus erythrocephalus versicolor is found in south-east Sudan, north-east Uganda, south-west Ethiopia and north Kenya. Trachyphonus erythrocephalus shelleyi is found in Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.
If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share,
We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.